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One vote gave Turf Paradise permission Tuesday to operate off-track betting at Los Abrigados Resort & Spa. Sedona City Council approved OTB at ILX Resorts 4-3 at its regular meeting Tuesday, Feb. 13. Now, Turf Paradise must apply for an Off-Track Parimutuel Waging license from the Arizona Department of Racing.

By Trista Steers
Larson Newspapers
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One vote gave Turf Paradise permission Tuesday to operate off-track betting at Los Abrigados Resort & Spa.

Sedona City Council approved OTB at ILX Resorts 4-3 at its regular meeting Tuesday, Feb. 13.

Now, Turf Paradise must apply for an Off-Track Parimutuel Waging license from the Arizona Department of Racing.

Councilmen John Bradshaw and Ramon Gomez, Vice Mayor Jerry Frey and Councilwoman Nancy Scagnelli voted for OTB.

Mayor Pud Colquitt and Councilmen Rob Adams and Harvey Stearn voted against.

Six people showed up to voice support. Nobody showed up in opposition.

Gomez, Scagnelli and Frey said they see OTB as a revenue generator for the city and therefore supported Turf Paradise?s proposal to operate at Steak & Sticks.

?We need every cent we can get in revenues,? Frey said.

Moral issues surrounding gambling were also addressed by Gomez and Stearn. Both said they don?t feel it?s their duty to regulate people?s activities on moral grounds but took different sides when it came time to vote.

?I?m not a gambler but, quite frankly, I never understood what the issue was from a moral side,? Gomez said.

Stearn also looked beyond moral concerns but said that didn?t make OTB a good fit for Sedona. Sedona?s image is at stake, Stearn said.

Scagnelli said she was convinced that ILX would do a stand-up job with the parlor and not do anything to compromise the city?s image.

?ILX just runs a really classy resort,? Scagnelli said. ?If it?s a win for them I think it?s a win for us.?

Colquitt couldn?t get past her personal feelings about horse racing despite her best efforts, she said.

?I have struggled with this because I?m a horse woman,? Colquitt said. ?I do not like horse racing.?

Horse racing wasn?t the issue for Adams, who once raised Arabian horses, he said. Adams didn?t think OTB offered strong community benefit.

Bradshaw originally had doubts as well, but his concerns were alleviated at the meeting. He worried more businesses would want to offer the service and council wouldn?t be able to stop it if they later decided it wasn?t a good idea.

Turf Paradise assured council Los Abrigados is the only site it plans to operate in Sedona. All other proposals would have to come before council and be consider on a case-by-case basis. Council could deny any other attempts.

Council could also revoke Turf Paradise?s permit before it expires in May 2009, City Manager Eric Levitt said. When the permit expires, it has to be reconsidered by council.

Tuesday marked Turf Paradise?s third attempt in the last 15 years to bring OTB to Sedona. One of the previous attempts was also in conjunction with ILX.

Council?s approval meets one of the state?s requirements for obtaining an OTB license. Local governments must approve the practice before the state will issue a license.

Turf Paradise began operating OTB 15 years ago when it became legal in Arizona. The Sedona site will be Turf Paradise?s 55th OTB location.


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